10–12 months old: Fine motor skill development

10–12 months old: Fine motor skill development
Your baby’s fine motor skill development at 10–12 months old. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Fine motor skill development allows babies to learn how to use the little muscles in their hands and fingers to perform subtle movements, such as reaching for, grabbing, and handling small objects.

Fine motor skill development: 10–12 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby uses their index finger to point, push, touch, and explore.
  • They can pick up smaller and smaller objects by using their index finger and thumb like tongs, first with their forearm resting on the table, then without.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They can hold a spoon and use it to stir a bowl, but they have difficulty bringing it to their mouth.
  • They can stack large objects.
  • They can intentionally let go of an object to give it to someone who asks for it.
  • They can put objects on the table.
  • When you clap your hands, they imitate this gesture.
  • They can scribble on paper after being shown how.

Over the next few months, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Empty a large container, first by tipping the contents, then by removing objects from the container with their hands.
  • Place objects on the table.
  • Remove the rings from a stacking toy.
  • Use both hands, and potentially favour one over the other.
  • Bring a spoon to their mouth and drink from a glass, spilling the contents.
Find out how to support your baby’s fine motor skill development through books. (In French)

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your baby’s fine motor skill development.

When you place food in front of your baby and show them how to pick it up,
they become more confident using their fingers to pick up food.
When you place your baby in a safe spot on the floor and give them soft objects to stack, demonstrating how to pick one item up and place it on top of another,
they learn how to stack things and start to grip and release objects with more confidence.
When you place your baby in a safe spot on the kitchen floor and put containers and bowls of different sizes around them,
they enjoy stacking the items and seeing how they fit together.
When you sing to your baby and play games that encourage them to move their arms and fingers,
they learn to move their arms and fingers with more control. They also feel safe and loved when you play with them.
When you give your baby toys that can be activated to produce effects like sound or movement,
they learn that they can control certain aspects of their environment.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Sonya Côté, occupational therapist
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: September 2019


Photo: GettyImages/fotostorm



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  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca
  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles : Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca



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